5th October marked the start of the 2020 Great British apple season, with supermarkets well stocked with home-grown varieties. To launch the start of season, Celebrity chef, Raymond Blanc, worked alongside British apple and pear growers to fuel consumer excitement about this year's crop and cement the UK’s position as the greatest apple nation in the world.
It’s been a challenging season for British apple and pear farmers, with fluctuating weather conditions and the continuing impact of COVID-19, yet a staggering 1.6 billion apples and pears (183,000 tonnes) will be picked by hand in British orchards this year, delivering one of the best tasting crops to date.
To kick off the Start of Season activity, Raymond Blanc and Executive Chair of BAPL, Ali Capper, hosted a virtual event at Chef Blanc’s two Michelin Star restaurant and hotel, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. Attendees included a range of top tier consumer journalists and influencers, who each received a British apple sample box prior to the event. The event primarily aimed to educate on the wonderful taste and flavour of British apples and pears, discussing taste combinations while communicating a strong call to action to drive sales of British fruit. Raymond also offered his famous Tarte Maman Blanc recipe to attendees, with journalists using the recipe within relevant wider features.
In addition to this, Raymond Blanc, Ali Capper and a selection of regional growers took part in a Radio Day, conducting a series of broadcast interviews with radio stations across the UK. The purpose was to create noise and excitement around farming British apples and pears, while educating consumers there really is an apple for everyone, every day. Chef Blanc communicated his passion for British apples and pears, stating Britain produces some of the finest, greatest tasting apples in the world.
Finally, with an average audience of 6 million viewers every week, Raymond Blanc featured on BBC One’s Countryfile - the UK's most popular weekly factual series. The feature fuelled excitement for the start of season, filming Raymond exploring the British orchards with the Countryfile presenter. The feature positioned Chef Blanc as a champion of British apples, while capturing his enthusiasm for British produce and their exceptional taste and flavour.
Link to Countryfile: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000n81b/countryfile-south-devon
Tarte Maman Blanc recipe: https://www.raymondblanc.com/recipes/apple-tart-maman-blanc/